Photo and editing: Rebeca Saray | Models: Rachel Kleines and Anneke Necro | MUA: Sofía Sicilia Gómez & Alassie | Wardrobe: El Costurero Real | Atrezzo: Félix Googles and La Cámara del Alquimista | Fine jewelry: Decimononic | Assistants: Juanma Zoombie & Carlos Galant
Steampunk was born as literary genre, with precursors such as Jules Verne and H. G. Wells among its main influencers. In any case, may the works of additional coetaneous authors become inspirational? Gothic novel, Romantic movement, early science fiction?
If you are reading these lines there is no doubt that you are looking for information about Steamgoth. I have written this blog post as an introduction to it, so let’s see if I can throw some gaslight on this issue.
1.1.- Steamgoth: the concept
Our first mention to this may be found at the first blog post we dedicated to our attendance at Wave Gotik Treffen 2013. As far as we know, the term Steamgoth was coined by the British writer James Richardson-Brown back in 2007:
‘Steamgoth is a far darker view of the steampunk world. Whereas steampunk can often be said to be science fiction set in an alternative Victorian-era world, Steamgoth would be horror set in that same world’.
Source: Steamgoth – An Introduction
But wait a minute. Is Steamgoth something brand new? Is it called to have significance enough per se? Is it a real answer or it just does not make any sense at all? Certainly these are not minor questions as, the way I see it, many of the trends derived from -punk (or let’s say cyberpunk derivatives) add very little.
For the Western world, the Victorian era was probably a time of wonder. It was a time of adventure, discovery, progress and, from the perspective of the contemporary man, romanticism. However, this historical period had an obscure side difficult to ignore. Not only due to colonialism, child labour, gender repression or racial discrimination, but to the widespread obsession with all things mysterious and paranormal.
I have always thought that both utopian and dystopian visions have room within the Steampunk genre; however, I feel that the current of thought that gradually prevails is the utopian one. As The New York Times stated quoting Captain Robert from Abney Park: ‘Steampunk is not dark and spooky, it’s elegant and beautiful’. If this comes to be true, Steamgoth is called to fill its own space offering a less ingenuous and idealized approach to the Steampunk paradigm. Does this mean that any manifestation of Steamgoth must be dystopian? Probably not. But with all certitude it should offer a different perspective to the Steampunk realm.
1.2.- Steamgoth: the roots
What fires Steamgoth? Which sources can we track back? What shall inspire it? I will try to answer some of these questions in the following parts of this blog post:
- Steamgoth in a nutshell (1 of 6).- Intro: The darkest side of Steampunk
- Steamgoth in a nutshell (2 of 6).- Literature: The Precursors
- Steamgoth in a nutshell (3 of 6).- Technoscience: The Knowledge of the Supernatural
- Steamgoth in a nutshell (4 of 6).- Occultism: The Forbidden Wisdom
- Steamgoth in a nutshell (5 of 6).- Victorian Society: Lights… and Shadows
- Steamgoth in a nutshell (6 of 6).- Fashion: The Black Obsession
Without further ado, let’s begin our walk on the darkest side of Steampunk: Steamgoth!
This is a terrific announcement for the Decimononic crew: we are going to attend the 21st Wave Gotik Treffen as vendors, which means that a vast array of Steampunk-inspired fine jewelry is going to be at your fingertips. Go on reading!
1.- Wave Gotik Treffen (WGT)
Just in case you have never heard about Wave Gotik Treffen (WGT) let us clarify that it is the festival for ‘dark’ music and arts, gathering 18,000 to 20,000 regular attendants. Held on the German holiday weekend of Pfingsten (Pentecost or Whitsun in English), it takes place in Leipzig (Germany) every year since 1992.
The festival program includes more than 150 bands playing life at several venues throughout the city and a neverending complementary cultural agenda: late-night parties with top-name DJs, music albums and film premieres, literary readings, artist signing events and quite a lot of others.
Want to know more? We invite you to visit the official website of the event of the excellent unofficial guide mantained by Sadgoth.
2.- Steampunk & Goth: Steamgoth rising!
The amazing Victorian picnic has been promoted by the ‘Mistress of Fantasy’ Viona Ielegems since 2008 and WGT welcomes Romantic Goth, Neovictorianism and, naturally, Steampunk. Not in vain Goth subculture amalgamates a plethora of different aesthetic sensibilities and expressions: from punk-rock to industrial, from folk to metal… in this context of constant evolution, old and new influences merge enriching the community.
Are you wondering if there is any link between the Goth subculture and Steampunk? From our point of view, its seems so. In fact, ‘brown is the new black’ has been mentioned quite often as the motto of goths turned steampunk. This does not seem to be a coincidence.